The meaning and importance of ‘Sewa’

हिंदी अनुवाद के लिए यहाँ क्लिक कीजिये

We received a message today (in Guruji’s inbox) and the sender inquired about Sewa. The sender wanted to know that why Sewa is done by them (at Guruji’s Sthaan)? Is it for achieving happiness for this birth or for our future births? The sender also wanted to know that if Sewa is done with something in mind and that thing is not achieved, then what should be done. The queries of the sender were briefly answered but it was felt that the sender was not fully satisfied with those brief answers. A lot of messages and emails are received everyday and they are answered to the sender only, but one particular thing that inspired to talk about it here for everyone was the feeling of un-satisfaction being felt by the sender; the feeling that many positive things have happened with other people coming to Guruji, then why not in the sender’s life, despite doing ‘Sewa’. Probably, more understanding is needed. Just thought of talking about it here (without naming the sender); as it was felt that many others might be having similar queries in their mind and are not able to express.

We have talked about ‘Sewa’ before, but not in detail. Here, we try.

We have been born in this world to achieve the one most important objective of our soul and that is ‘Salvation’ (Moksh). Even before we talk about salvation, we first need to be aware that ‘God’ exists. There may be many amongst us who do not believe in the existence of ‘God’ in the first place. If we believe that ‘God’ does not exist altogether then ‘Salvation’ has no meaning either. ‘Salvation’ simply means when our ‘Soul’ (Atma) unites for the final time with the ‘Ultimate-Soul’ (Param-Atma) and gets free from this cycle of birth and death. If our worldly knowledge challenges the existence of ‘God’ then nothing further can be understood either. Though it will be beneficial to mention here that non-acceptance of something does not lead to its non-existence.

We have talked about this ‘purpose’ of life previously (in the blog) so we will not talk about it in detail again (it can be read in previous blog entries). Once the purpose of life is understood by us, it becomes easier to move on. That is the reason it is said that being born as a human is the doorway to ‘Salvation’ as this is the only creation of ‘God’ which can harness this knowledge. We also know, but often forget that we live in a materialistic world (Nashvar Sansaar). Whatever we own today belonged to someone else yesterday and will again belong to someone else tomorrow. We cannot carry anything material with us, beyond this birth. It is important to earn a living and to fulfill our social responsibilities, but it is not the end. To achieve anything in life, we need to work for it, or in other words, do our ‘Karma’. How we do our ‘Karma’ is what is important and this is what travels with the ‘Soul’.

‘Karma’ – It can be of many kinds. Good, bad or neutral but if we desire to achieve anything, then we are bound to do it. ‘Karma’ can be directed solely towards our existence in the material world, or it can also be directed towards attainment of our primary objective, that is ‘Salvation’. The person, who is aware of the materialistic nature of the world, will always try to do his (/her) ‘Karma’ for its fulfillment. The word ‘aware’ was carefully chosen over the word ‘knows’ as most of us do have the knowledge, but it sleeps somewhere at the back of our minds. To be ‘aware’ of it make makes us put directed efforts towards it. How can we decide about which ‘Karmas’ can lead us towards the achievement of our purpose of life. Are we really that knowledgeable?

Now we touch upon the topic that we started talking about in the first place. ‘Sewa’

The literal translation of ‘Sewa’ is ‘Service’. So anybody working in an office is also doing a ‘Service’ or in other words – ‘Sewa’. But, for doing that service he (/she) is being paid for it in terms of a salary every month. This is pure business. This ‘Karma’ is needed just to fulfill one’s worldly needs. It is also of utmost importance because it helps a person be alive by providing bread and butter… since one can only perform ‘Karmas’ towards fulfillment of ‘Salvation’ if one is alive but it does not achieve anything more than that. The means of achieving our livelihood can again be good or bad and the balance of our good and bad ‘Karmas’ thus created, decide our ‘Destiny’. We experience happiness or suffering, pleasure or pain, abundance or void, family bliss or animosity, love or hate, depending on which way the balance of our ‘Karmas’ tip.

It is very important to observe that when we perform any ‘Sewa’ (service to humanity) with the expectation of a fixed reward in mind, it is more like a business transaction. It will also bear fruit in due course of time (just like salary is received after a month’s work) but the degree will always differ for different people depending on their previous ‘Karma’ balance and their ability to perform. Just like someone may get a salary of Rs.50,00,000/- for a month of work and another a mere 500 or any amount in between the two. We can all understand that this difference is because of two things. The skills developed by each person and their ability to perform their work effectively. If we still pose a question as to why two people get paid differently for the same hours of time spent in work, we are just fooling ourselves. Instead of wasting time in this, we should concentrate on achieving better skills. It is also important to understand that to achieve the higher purpose, we don’t need business. We need to perform our ‘Sewa’ without expectation so that the entire positives generated by it can be used to neutralize the balance of our ‘Karmas’ which will one day lead us to the purpose of our birth – ‘Salvation’.

This is known as ‘Nishkaam Sewa’ (Selfless Service). When we don’t expect anything in return and just perform our ‘Service’. Another aspect is that however hard we try, this understanding of our each action is almost impossible to comprehend. Does that mean that even our sincerest efforts will not lead us to our goals? This is what happens in the absence of knowledge of our actions. There are only two things to do in such a case. Either acquire all the knowledge, or follow the one who knows.

This is the importance of ‘Guru’. When we reach our ‘Guru’, He ensures that our efforts are directed towards the right way which will one day lead us to our goal of ‘Salvation’ and this relationship of ‘Guru’ and ‘Shishya’ continues birth after birth, till the time the ‘Shishya’ finally attains his goal. Our ‘Guru’ takes us out of the ‘Maya’ (Illusions) of the material world and shows us the correct path of detachment and selfless service. With His kripa we are also blessed with another important virtue of ‘Patience’.

When we come to the ‘Sharan’ of Guruji, we are free to ask what we want, to fulfill the needs of our life and Guruji grants that to us. Some might take more and some might take less depending upon their faith, their degree of surrender, their previous balances and their ‘bhakti’. Nothing is wrong in asking for blessings from your Guru to achieve something in life BUT, we should never equate ‘Sewa’ with ‘Reward’. When we perform ‘Sewa’ selflessly, material rewards are also bound to come automatically with the spiritual rewards. By binding the ‘Sewa’ to a particular reward, we actually reduce the gain. This will lead to nothing but frustrations as the rewards will never be according to what we seek (as already talked about – they will be according to our skill and ability and we are always bound to have an inflated view of ourselves thus leading to frustration). This is not ‘Sewa’ at all. Our material wants are actually fulfilled by ‘Guruji’ only because of this reason; so that we can concentrate more on achieving our actual goal. Some of us make the mistake of stopping right there.

Coming back to the original question of the sender of the message now; “What is the purpose of Sewa?” The purpose of ‘Sewa’ is to liberate ourselves from this material world; to free ourselves from the feelings of hatred, jealousy and egoism; to synergize our self with the energies of our ‘Guru’ so that one day we achieve what HE wants us to achieve – The ONLY objective of our life.

Guruji has given us the shortest path to achieve our ultimate aim. It comprises of three things and together they are a complete form of ‘Bhakti’.  1. Jaap, 2. Sewa and 3. Dhyaan.

‘Jaap’ – Chanting the mantras given to us by Him, every day.  There is no fixed way or time of chanting the mantras. Chanting can continue in one’s mind throughout the day.

‘Sewa’ – Performing Selfless service. This feeling should extend even when we leave the physical premises of Guruji’s ‘Sthaan’ and continue with us as a way of living.

‘Dhyaan’ – Meditation (even if for a few minutes in a day). Trying to achieve a state of thoughtlessness and thus trying to connect to Him. Trying is enough.

‘Sewa’ is an integral and important part of our journey. And yet, expectation of ‘Salvation’ is also an expectation nonetheless. Guruji has shown the way by performing ‘Sewa’ relentlessly and guiding His Shishyas to do the same, without any expectation from anybody. In fact, even after not accepting anything from anybody and doing pure un-conditional ‘Sewa’ of one and all, some people might still pose a question that what have we gained by going to Him? When any one starts quantifying ‘Sewa’ in terms of direct material or even spiritual rewards, disappointment is bound to come as there is no pre-set formula for this calculation. They are probably not even looking at the other side of the journey… the positive movement of each individual in his (/her) Spiritual journey; because it can’t be felt on a day to day basis. Guruji has always taught to do ‘Selfless service’ (Nishkaam Sewa), so it is wrong to equate ‘Sewa’ in form of reward. The entire purpose of ‘Sewa’ is defeated by this.

Why then should one do ‘Sewa’? It should be done purely for the love of your Guru. Because that is what He wants us to do and that is what He has taught us. What we talked about till now is just a stepping stone to reach this point because this journey begins with knowledge but flourishes, when we let go of the knowledge… Keep our slate clean, for Him to write. Just believe that He will take us on our onward journey and give us what we need. Leave everything to Him. When that feeling is achieved completely, ‘Sewa’ will become enjoyable instead of a burden… and that is the ONLY way it should be.

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